Medical estheticians are skin care specialists who treat conditions of the skin in medical settings such as hospitals. Some estheticians who fall into this category partner with plastic surgeons. In this capacity, they are similar to assistants, performing more basic skin care procedures, getting patient information and checking patient progress. Estheticians who work with plastic surgeons earn better pay than estheticians in some industries, but their rates still are well within the scope of the pay range for the entire field.
Average Pay, Physicians' Offices
Some plastic surgeons have private practices, working out of their own offices. Estheticians who work in this setting averaged $39,540 per year in May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This equates to roughly $19 per hour. Estheticians employed by private practice plastic surgeons enjoyed the highest pay rate of any estheticians. The bureau asserts that 3,250 estheticians worked in physicians' offices in May 2010.
Average Pay, General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
Plastic surgeons are not always able to make an independent practice work, given the high cost of self-employment. Some surgeons find that working in general medical and surgical hospitals provides a better opportunity to network and perform a wider variety of plastic surgery procedures, particularly for those who don't have many years of experience. Estheticians who work in hospitals with these plastic surgeons earned $37,280 per year, or about $17.92 in May 2010, says the BLS. They ranked behind estheticians who work in physicians' offices, the amusement and recreation industry and outpatient care centers. Only about 70 estheticians worked in this industry in May 2010, according to the bureau.
Average Pay, Outpatient Care Centers
Often, patients who have received plastic surgery involving the skin do not need to see the surgeon again, particularly if all went as expected during the procedure and no complications arose. In these cases, it is sometimes more efficient for the patient to follow up with the esthetician so that the surgeon can spend time performing more advanced tasks. Estheticians involved in plastic surgery for the skin thus sometimes work in outpatient care centers. Their job is to perform basic skin care procedures, as well as to monitor and report healing progress to the surgeon. For this work, estheticians in outpatient care centers receive $37,650 per year, or about $18.10 per hour. They ranked third in terms of pay rates. The BLS does not provide an estimate for how many estheticians worked in this sector in May 2010.
Even though estheticians working with plastic surgeons generally make between $37,000 and $39,000, based on May 2010 data from the BLS, the bureau reports that estheticians may earn anywhere between $17,090 and $50,890 per year, the equivalent of $8.22 and $24.47 hourly. According to Collegesearchengine, the range is greater, with estheticians earning anywhere from $15,000 to $75,000 in 2011 based on data from the Occupational Employment Survey of Employers.
Comparison to Other Estheticians
As licensed esthetician Susanne S. Warfield points out, there really is no such thing as a "medical esthetician" license, although estheticians who want to practice in a medical setting with plastic surgeons can take additional training to learn how to do more advanced procedures than normally would fall under the scope of general esthetician training. Because there is very little difference in training and it is up to the plastic surgeon to allow the esthetician to perform any advanced procedures for which the esthetician has been trained, estheticians who work with plastic surgeons have earnings comparable to etheticians in other settings. However, some estheticians feel that the medical setting permits them to provide better care to patients, as the Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery asserts.